One Life Many Choices
15th May 2017
Hippos
3rd July 2017
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It was early. The air was thick with mist and the smell of remorse as I took off in my small Cessna.

My head hurt and I wanted to vomit. Fortunately I’d brought another bottle to continue the binge from the night before (which had never actually reached a conclusion.)

It was a good night: hazy and quite similar to the night before…and the night before that. The only difference being that I was taking a flight today, a flight I didn’t want to take, but it was nonetheless a necessity. It was going to be my last adventure with a predetermined outcome.

My life seems a misery. It’s been bloody hard and what I did manage to achieve for my family was never rewarded with any thankful remarks or acts of kindness.

Was it even worth it? I have my doubts…

I reach 2000 feet and settle into a mundane routine of swigging on my Balvenie whilst making quick work of the pack of camels I’d purchased at a garage en route to the airport. You see…I hadn’t smoked for five years, not since my last heart attack, but I always swore I’d light up a smoke on my death bed. (I never actually realized I’d follow through on the stupid notion.) As to be expected, they tasted crap and made me more nauseas.

The plane was gliding, almost drifting, in the sky (or perhaps it was the alcohol and the head rush from the cigarettes). I was an hour in and I knew I had three more to go to.

My flight path took me over the cliffs of Dover towards New York. I love New York. What a special place…brimming with energy and joie de vivre. The jazz bars and take away foods are my game: Burger King comes out tops, but Shake Shack is also a winner. I’ve had some amazing times in that city of sirens; the bars, the restaurants…it’s endless. It’d be quite surreal to be there now…

Except I wasn’t. I was on my way.

This was not my best day. Isn’t it great when a day just gets better and better: you grasp it and you kill it. Wow. You feel fantastic: life’s good. You eat it up as if you’re a ravenous, insatiable predator that just can’t get enough. We crave these days. They seem so few, but they define our best moments and memories. We use these days as motivation; to measure success and happiness. We are happy.

But it just takes another ‘opposite’ day to massacre the mood. Nothing works. Life seems helpless and impossible, it’s arduous. It’s a battle of epic proportions: hard and soul destroying. How do you find your way through this nightmare? It’s virtually impossible to see the other side. You’re incapable of remembering the good and you have to take it moment by moment just to survive.

Then suddenly, a week later, small things begin to shift and develop and before you know it, you’re having the best day of your life again. It’s a cycle: you earn those good days. But nothing is for free…so you pay with the bad ones and remember they will not and cannot last forever. You will beat them over and over again because that’s what it means to be human…Except when you have too many bad days in quick succession and then the worse they get the worse you make them. At this stage the solution becomes clear: Whiskey, and a lot of it.

I wasn’t hungry, just thirsty for more booze. I was halfway through the bottle and all I could see were the clouds scattered above me so I binned my flight headphones for some music on my phone. I think I was listening to The Bee Gees and a few other artists from a time when I gave a fuck. The sadness of the music coaxing me to reminisce, but in the end it just makes me more miserable.

Death was finally catching up with me. I didn’t have a lifeboat or extra fuel to make it even half way to New York…The fishes would see me soon.

I always thought I’d die young, but shit, it just didn’t happen. If I’d pegged earlier it would have been excellent life. You see, I didn’t plan for old age, I mean why bother if your days are numbered? The second heart attack was more than just a nuisance, it was a sign that I should live every day as if it was my last. But it wasn’t. The bloody thing was unrelenting.

I’d done what I came to do on this earth and, thanks to the bottle, stuffed up the majority of it.

I wish I’d had the foresight to bring a glass and some ice on this flight. The whisky was smooth, but dwindling. Maybe I should have had the foresight to bring two bottles, but I was pissed, so there was little planning involved. This was more about ‘spontaneity’ – a word normally associated with positivity and lightheartedness. Alas, not this time.

‘Spontaneous suicide’ – quite a laugh actually…The sort of thing I would do.

I missed nobody really. The last year had become my own, just me and my dogs: my only true companions…And the only asset I have left is the one I’m planning to fly directly into the ocean.

Life’s about choices isn’t it? And every one of them has existential consequences. What are we looking for?
What do we want out of life?
How long have we got? – Now THAT’S the question. At least I knew that answer: I was tired of waiting.

It’s all a choice: every decision, movement, action, smile, whether to turn left or right. It’s a choice…I just couldn’t buy this crap…I was pissed and sobering up and quite confused really. Clearly.

We all want to be happy and nurture our loved ones, but some just do a better job than others. Often circumstances curtail ones plans. My circumstances certainly stuffed me up. Whisky had become my best friend so the buggers that make it are at fault, them and the tobacco companies that stuffed my heart and lungs and made me stink for nearly 20 years…Maybe I should’ve smoked a pipe? I do like that cherry tobacco smell…

We have to do the best with what we have. And sometimes we inherit dodgy DNA which slows us right down, but I guess we can’t all be cheetahs. I was one until I realized I wasn’t. I think I had dodgy DNA, hence my love of booze and all things fun without any moderation. That must be it. It’s not my fault.

I love flying; just drifting through the sky. It’s my solitude and as close to heaven as I’m ever going to get.

That might be why laughter dwindled from my life – that gut-wrenching laughter we all love so much. To live unapologetically with laughter at each turn has to be a supreme achievement. I had run out of energy.

You need to find the courage to mine the energy you need, never mind how deep you need to dig. You have to fight to beat your conscience and feed your soul. I have stopped participating in this war. Too many battles mostly lost and too many scars to heal. Courage is not that simple to just ‘find’…I actually used to be brave beyond belief…

We only have one shot at life so keep your hopes and dreams alive. Cherish every waking minute whether sad or happy and celebrate each day, always finding a reason to smile. It’s hard sometimes, but make it happen because it’s a choice. Don’t be like me, make better choices.

Small, virtually insignificant, acts of kindness can alter the entire direction of another’s life. What’s insignificant to you is another’s plateau of happiness. Make a difference with little. The fact is I tried to make a difference and mostly failed…

This whisky is fantastic…Have I mentioned I like to drink? But not just sip…I like to binge-drink.

I believe all people are inherently good. Nobody wants to be obnoxious or a knob. We face challenges in our lives that often lead to us to poor choices. I had become a knob.

On reflection, this might be my kids’ fault…

Zombies are real – if you saw my kids you would get it. They’re funny-looking, mutant monsters who choose to be thick without encouragement, especially if you ask them to do something. If you wake them too early you’re just met with insolent, muffled groans. But if they’re hungry then you bloody well know it and they’d mutilate you in a heartbeat for some cash. If you try and tell them what to wear they’ll rip your head off or slap you so hard that you’ll think Chuck Norris just gave you a roundhouse kick to the throat.

If they want something, just give it to them, or they’ll make your life so miserable you’ll end up killing yourself by holding your breath underwater just so you don’t have to hear them.

Their friendship groups are zombie hoards waiting to strike. They hide behind the facade of pretty little faces with golden locks, but they’re vicious and terrifying. If ISIS considers invading they should think twice, because my zombies would destroy them. Just like they destroyed me.

They’re ugly little chops who want nothing more to do with me, but I don’t really blame them. I guess my attempt at parenting worked because they’re alive and don’t have problems with booze, but when it comes to looking after their father, they’re useless.

They stopped giving me money last month so I had to swipe my last bottle from the local pub. At least I’d been a loyal customer there for years. They might even miss me a bit…I used to be the good guy you see, but admittedly I’ve changed a little.

Being an arsehole doesn’t mean you’re not good. It just means you’re perceived to be an arsehole by another. I found that, at this juncture in my life, everyone thought I was an arsehole. I would concur. I am a grumpy, tired arsehole who’d best be put down.

Very few people lack remorse, and we all try to do the right thing. We all want adventures, love and what’s best for everybody, not just your loved ones. I lost the will to love and that changes a man. Now I love whisky.

A kaleidoscope of life choices is what’s required to maintain happiness and change lives in a manner that will make you feel proud to be yourself. I just didn’t give a shit, so it really made absolutely no difference to me – This is hardly profound, but useful if you pay attention. You see, I don’t. I actually do some of the shit I’ve mentioned, but on countless occasions I’ve turned left instead of right.

Life’s hard and that’s a fact, but it still remains your choice as to how you want to live it.

My whisky is finished. All I have is an empty bottle which I toss into the ocean. (By the way, throwing glass into the ocean is not littering, glass is made from sand and it will eventually return to its natural form…Maybe I’ll see it again down there.)

I need a piss, but I just threw the only receptacle I had out the window. The need isn’t passing so I’m going to water the seat next to me. It’s all liquid where I’m going in any case.

I’m starting to sober up at a disturbingly fast rate. Shit. I wish I had another bottle of whisky. I begin to wonder if people will think this an accident or suicide. They’ll never know I suppose.

I was now past the halfway mark and resolute about my decision.

Or was I?

I felt I needed to disrupt the space around me and take another look at this decision. We all want to go up. I realized it last week with a stranger in a lift who wanted to go down. We eventually agreed that the only way to get down was to go up. (We had to anyway as the lift was heading there and we had no control over it.) We have to keep going up.

Our whole lives revolve around us stepping up and not stepping down. We just can’t go down. But that’s bullshit, we can, we know how to take a step back and then take that giant step forward to make that magnificent thing great again. It’s our responsibility for all that adore us. It’s our way. Maybe not mine today.

I was sobering up even more now and the stench of urine was turning sweet and stale.

Being on top is an immense and challenging climb, sometimes reckless, but we have no choice but to do it. It has to be done. Failure is not an option. To climb the highest mountain is to many just a hill, but to me it’s a monster. I will climb it and conquer it, I shall. This is what we need to do. We have to overcome these obstacles. The more they place in front of us, the stronger we become. We crush those rocks and destroy everything in our path, but we will get there because we don’t give up: it is our way. (Well it was Yoda’s way.)

I turn the bloody plane around not because I believe all my bullshit, but because I need another drink to contemplate my options. The one little challenge I have is that I have one hour’s worth of fuel left for the three hour journey back. A rather insurmountable challenge. Bloody irritating. I was missing quite a few things now: whisky and whisky were the two things at the top of my list just ahead of Burger King. Shit. Now I want to live…Maybe breathing into the tank would buy me another hour…

I love life. What the hell am I doing? I’m happy to climb that bloody mountain just bring it on. Damn, it’s here and I am living it. About to climb the thing with no oxygen or ropes. I may as well just, I don’t know… What I would give for another hour or a day. I’ve really fucked up for the last time…What an idiot.

I fly on, contemplating my demise. Maybe I could call mayday with my position and land perfectly on the Atlantic and climb out of the plane before it sinks. Then tread water for days till somebody found me drifting in this massive, uninviting ocean.

Fat chance.

I’m quite irritated about this stupid decision. I blame it on my dad who gave me dodgy DNA. I want another drink. I also need another piss. Fuck.

There’s half an hour of fuel left now.

Suddenly I see an aircraft carrier and know I can call them on the radio and get permission to land! There’s no way they’d think I was a kamikaze pilot wanting to blow up their ship…Just kidding…The sea is bitterly empty except for all that bloody water… and whatever’s looming below.

Can you believe it? I need a pee. Well this time there was no good reason to add to the stench next to me, so I just pee in my pants. I feel the warm, whiskey stench running down my pants towards my shoes. Pity I can’t drink it.

I had to wonder if I had a life worth living? It’s become a bit late for me to correct this one. Not to place any urgency on this, but this is the very last day I suck oxygen out of your atmosphere. I wish I could’ve done it with some significance.

The airplane splutters and stutters – not dissimilar from how I speak when I’m pissed – and there’s almost a moment of equilibrium, just as the engine dies.

Despite the fact that I have utilized some real events in my life this post is entirely non fiction. I can assure you I love my two baby girls and I am not suicidal. What made me right this piece one cannot say however my best mate committed suicide the day after I finished writing this piece.

Goodbye my pal. Gvr

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